Hey writer boy, have you visited Pak Tea House Yet? asked one of my journalist friend.

I heard about it, Nawaz Sharif reopened it in 2013 I guess, have not been there yet. I do not know if it is still the same Pak Tea House. Most of the Nobel individuals who were there day in and day out, no idea if they had any successors.

What was once home to the finest minds of South Asia lingers along with its rich heritage somewhere between Anarkali and Alhamra?

My stay in Lahore had almost marked its three years and as an amateur writer I suppose, I felt the need to make my self-comfortable at the iconic Pak Tea House. Although modern day writers prefer their lattes with whipped cream and artificial sweeteners, I went old school that day.

They say when you want something that bad, it happens one or the other way. I was at Mall Road for a conference, while I was on my way back to the university, the cab driver requested to stop near Anarkali for a while. While he was making a quick stop, I saw the Iconic Pak Tea House right there.

Somewhere in between cycles succumbed with zinc oxide and a cobbler embracing black polish, I could see the dateline for the teahouse.

Since 1948 sparkled out of the tiny little windows. I did not notice for a second that I was wearing a pocket square suit and entering into a world where people were not much fond of them. Therefore, to prevent myself from being an alien out there, my sleeves went up by a quarter and my suit was on the adjacent chair.

As I pushed the door, instead of a table or tea house customers, I could see some of the finest minds to my left and to my right. Starting from Habib Jalib to Saadat Hasan Manto, there were a few tables, each with a thinker by its side. Well for once, I was in the right place.

For someone who has been a frequent visitor for some of the uptown cafes, I was hoping for a waiter to come by, as opposed to my capitalist demands, I had to go to the cashiers counter and order, guess what, a “tea”. The story does not end at my tea; there was a huge price difference.

I was up for a battle; on my right was a bearded man in his twenties reciting poetry for a girl of the same age. My left featured two lawyers debating about the situation of social justice in Pakistan. As they were already short of tables, a twenty-one-year-old stranger like me between proses and prosaic could not help but wonder, what was I doing here?

In the midst of sipping my almost free tea and wondering about my presence amongst South Asia’s finest minds or likely to be, I heard a voice

Hey if you do not mind, can I sit here

Sure, you may.

There it was sitting with strangers, noticing strangers and hearing complex Urdu poetry, which was supposed to be romantic.I had company, which helped me finish my tea. It lead on to a startling conversation between my strange company and me. That was by far one of the best conversations, I have ever had, contrary to the ever-charming aspiring job seekers I meet at LUMS, I was talking about life to a street photographer much more passionate then the DSLR owners out there.

Did I learn something out of my detour? I do not know yet but for what it’s worth, if you are in Lahore, make it worthwhile and visit places like Pak Tea House.